The 3 Secrets of One Minute Management: Why They Still Work Today

The New One Minute Manager book coverToday is the official release date for The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

It brings me back to the day I learned about the original The One Minute Manager. Like so many people, I was introduced to the book by someone who loved it—a client who had stumbled upon it and found that its lessons really helped her to manage her three assistants, something she had been struggling with. I immediately got the book and was stunned at the simplicity of the ideas and how actionable the steps were. The new book is so exciting because the basics have been updated for a new generation of leaders. It feels current and just as relevant now as it has ever been.

For example, I recently worked with a client who was complaining about a new employee—she called him “the kid,” and, in fact, he was just nineteen years old. “I tell him the stuff I want him to do and he forgets,” she told me.

It reminded me, once again, that most managers just don’t start with the basics.

One Minute Goals

In The New One Minute Manager the first secret is to set One Minute Goals. The critical step here is to have your employees write goals down and put them where they can refer to them every day. Nobody ever thinks they are going to forget their goals and tasks, but the fact is that our days get away from us, the unexpected crops up out of nowhere, and life is filled with distractions. Everybody, from an entry level kid to a CEO, has to stop, take a moment, refer to their big goals, and make a to-do list for the day. It is the only way to make sure the right things—not simply the distractions—get done.

One Minute Praisings

The second secret is One Minute Praisings. This is particularly pertinent for managers who want to be more like a coach. Taking a minute to praise a person for something well done is simple and easy to do, but for some reason most people just don’t do it. Certainly, as an executive coach working in organizations, I was considered a freak because I gave so much positive feedback. I couldn’t help it—it was simply part of my training. But the crazy thing is that praising works. It helps make employees more confident, more creative, and more willing to take risks. One of the phrases that struck me when I first came to The Ken Blanchard Companies was that a manager should “catch people doing things right.” I thought, “Okay, I’m going to get along just fine here.”

One Minute Reprimands Re-Directs

The third secret is the biggest change from the earlier book. Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have changed the One Minute Reprimand to a more time-appropriate One Minute Re-Direct. Back in 1982 when the original book was published, when a direct report made a mistake, the in-command manager told them what they did wrong and took steps to see that it didn’t happen again. The tone of a reprimand was well meaning but parental. Today, people at all levels are in a constant learning mode. A reprimand isn’t appropriate for someone who is continually learning new skills. Personally, I have never been comfortable reprimanding anyone, so the Re-Direct works better in today’s world—it re-clarifies goals and gets people back on track faster.

Better than Ever

I generally don’t recommend books to clients, especially to those who don’t have the time or inclination to read—but Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s ability to boil down the complexities of management and leadership to simple, doable steps has been a gift to all of us for over 33 years. If you never experienced the original book, The New One Minute Manager is a great place to get started. It just doesn’t get old!

About the Author

Madeleine Blanchard is the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team.  Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

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